Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Grace Barr

Sarah Grace, age 17, lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and has a burning passion for theater, social justice, and travel. She hopes to one day travel the world and experience new cultures, meet new people, and explore a world different than her own.

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Why did you choose this program?

Global Leadership Adventures was the perfect program for someone like me. At school, I take a Global Citizenship class that requires us to go out of the country and paricipate in an intercultural experience.

I knew immediately that I wanted to travel abroad, as that had been something I always dreamed of doing. When I visited the Global Leadership Adventures website, I was amazed at the variety of options they offered. Their website was so organized and well-put together. I then contacted my friend who had been on a trip before, and her overwhelmingly positive feedback about the company helped me make my final decision.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Global Leadership Adventures was extremely helpful in the process of getting ready for my trip abroad. They hosted multiple webinars explaining how to prepare for the trip and also sent out monthly emails with information about everything.

On my own, I really only had to plan out logistics regarding credit for my class at school, as well as packing.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Soak in every moment that you're at your destination. Get to know the people around you, and really make strong relationships with them. Don't be afraid to try something new. Step out of your comfort zone. You'll have so much fun that in the blink of an eye you'll be crying on the plane headed back home.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I participated in the Dominican Republic Global Health Initiative Program with GLA for two weeks. An average day for this program is packed full of fun, service, and adventure.

We would wake up anywhere from 6 - 9 am, and go have breakfast with the group. An hour later, we'd be off for our service project of the day, whether that be construction at a local clinic, or medical brigades working to heal the patients.

Around 12 pm, we would take a lunch break and eat with the Dominican people, learning more about their culture and how they go about their day-to-day lives. At about 2 pm, we would head back to our beautiful home base, located in Barahona. Then, we would have free time. We could walk to the nearby beach, hang out with friends, or go for a swim in the pool.

Around 6 pm, we would have our delicious dinner cooked by the chefs at home base. Following dinner, we would have a lecture. My personal favorite lecture was the social justice lecture given by one of my mentors. After that, but before bed, we would have mentor groups, where we would break up into small groups, go with a mentor, and just hang out and talk about our day. Then, off to bed.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I always had a huge homesickness problem as a child. I had never left home for more than 5 days before this trip, so being away from my home was a real step out of my comfort zone. I thought about taking this trip for a long time, because it was such a huge step forward for me.

Eventually, to overcome this, I thought about what I would think in 10 years looking back on this experience, and I ultimately decided to go. I had no reason to worry about this, however, because what I failed to realize is that with Global Leadership Adventures, I would make my own family in the Dominican.

What was your favorite part of your experience traveling abroad?

I loved every part of this experience, but I have to say my favorite was the people I met. We had such a diverse group of people coming together with similar interests and one goal in mind, and we were able to be the change we wished to see in the world together. I keep in touch with my entire group, including my mentors, on a daily basis, and I just absolutely adore them.